Bulawayo, Victoria Falls, Kasane, Maun
21.07.2011 - 29.07.2011
Have had another great week over here. We are in Botswana now getting ready for our 2 nights in the Okavango Delta. After leaving Gweru & Antelope Park we headed for Bulawayo, stopping on the way at Great Zimbabwe Ruins. The ruins are from the 15th Century and around 25000 people lived in the kingdom (including the king and his 200 wives). I did manage to get lost from my group amongst the ruins with another girl for a little while, you know me and directions. It was interesting hearing about the time, even though everything was “this is probably what happened”. Another opportunity to take plenty of photos. We then continued to Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s “second city”, which seemed like a really nice area with its tree lined streets and quaint shops. Our camp site, Burke's Paradise, was nice and I compare to like being at Grandparents house as it was so nice and homely in the LIVING ROOM we had access to (LOUNGES and a TV!!!). We jumped at the chance to put some videos on.
Then on to Victoria Falls – “The Smoke That Thunders for 4 nights. Victoria Falls town is in the National Park, so animals get right of way. This was obvious with the warthogs running through town one day and the elephant we ran into in the bushes on the way home one night. On Saturday I did a Bungy Jump off Victoria Falls Bridge, 111m over the river running through the gorge below….if the guy didn’t push me I would still be there. Why people would do that more than once is a mystery. We did an afternoon sunset cruise on the Zambezi river which was really nice and saw some hippos, crocodiles and elephants before watching the sunset. Tried as best I could to get my moneys’ worth of the all you can drink. The night turned out much the same as the previous ‘sunset cruise’ plus getting up to perform with a traditional African dance act. Probably wasn’t as authentic after that.
Sunday, (Happy Christmas in July) I went back to the bridge for a Bridge Swing. A swing sounds fun but this was worse than the bungy jump as you have to step out and fall forwards. My gosh it was AWFUL! The videos are priceless though you can see the guy prying my hands the bars. Monday we went for a walk around the falls, which gets you saturated from all of the spray a couple of hundred metres away. They are beautiful to see. Then went out for some ostrich, impala and worms for dinner. It got a bit draining walking through the town as although such a tourist town there is obviously still poverty and the hawkers are very insistent (even try to offer you “African Man”) but will sell you their items for absolutely nothing .
We crossed into Botswana on Wednesday and had our spare pairs of shoes out for inspection. We have gone from countries with seemingly no regulations to Botswana, where at inspection points across the country we have to hide all fresh produce (even stuff bought in Botswana) under the floorboards and seats and have a 2nd pair of shoes to be decontaminated to avoid the spread of foot & mouth. It is nice though and a very well developed country (behind South Africa, the 2nd most developed in Africa) but the prices are going up. When we arrived to our camp in Kasane, on the Chobe River, we went out for an afternoon river cruise. The Chobe is known for its large hippo and crocodile population. Also saw lots of elephants but really noticed the high number of crocodiles when our boat broke down. There were crocodile heads popping up in the water all around us. Eventually the driver got the boat working, but it would only work in reverse, so we spent about 45minutes spinning on the spot in circles, then attempting to continue the cruise in reverse. Another driver finally came over to try and help and managed to get it working in a forward motion, but it wouldn’t reverse, so for the rest of the afternoon whenever we got close to the shore viewing wildlife, we had to push away with the ores. Lucky we didn’t need any quick getaways from the hippos. Yet another relaxing African boat experience. The Welcome to Botswana sign says that Elephants have the right of way, which makes sense with all the ones we have seen long the roads. It is a very dry country from what we have seen so far, mostly scrub covered savannah. Last night we had another bush camp, pitching our tents close together in case any elephants decided to wander through.
We are now in Maun, a town where the waters of the Okavango Delta meet the sand of the Kalahari Desert. Tomorrow head for the Delta for 2 nights which I am really looking forward to.